It’s elementary, this show is sensational!

BEN Langley knows how to work a crowd – no matter how small it is – thanks to years of practice drumming up interest on the streets around Covent Garden.

So the sight, once again, of a great many empty seats at The Grove for his latest wacky incarnation of a classic – this time Ha Ha Holmes! The Beast of the Blistervilles – was seen as a challenge rather than dismay.

And he rose to it wonderfully in his own inimitable style, putting on an hilarious romp through the Conan Doyle favourite to the delight of diehard fans.

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It was the team’s third visit to the venue, following on from Ha Ha Hamlet and Ha Ha Hitler, and I never tire of watching them.

Their shows are the most original, witty and entertaining to come to the venue.

But it doesn’t matter how much I enthuse about them, they still fail to find their audience in Bedfordshire.

I expect every person who did see the one-night show to go home and make it their mission to each sign up at least 20 people to come along to their next performance. I guarantee you’ll have one of the best nights of your life.

Langley plays Sherlock Holmes strictly for laughs.

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Instead of a violin he plays a ukulele like George Formby and his drug of choice is comedy which he distributes to everyone in the audience.

The talented performer also wrote and directed the production, taking liberties with the Hound Of The Baskervilles story.

His partner in crime (solving) was, as usual, Andrew Fettes who played Dr Watson and his alter ego of the beast (yes, there was the inclusion of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde for no other reason than to crank up the laughs).

They were joined by Fenton Gray, who had the task of taking on pretty much all of the remaining parts, from Professor Moriarty to eccentric nun Sister Blodwyn Feckme.

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There were times when the story sagged and they resorted to dragging unwilling volunteers up for a touch of audience participation – always a low point and smacking of desperation.

They even halted the whole show to meet a challenge to cook scrambled eggs on stage in a microwave.

We all sat there waiting for the ‘ping’ and then watched as they ate their snack which was about as much fun as watching paint dry.

Overall the show was as wonderfully daft and zany as we’d come to expect from the group.

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It shamelessly exploits its roots in street and fringe theatre and that’s no bad thing.

Langley lights up the stage with a childlike enthusiasm and an infectious smile.

If he was disappointed in the small audience it didn’t show and it failed to stop the cast from delivering another sensational performance.

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